Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Thirty (evening)

The last official day of NaNoWriMo 2009! My novel's still not done, but I'm close. I wrote another 905 words today. Microsoft Word says I have 53,334 words, but I validated my word count on the NaNoWriMo website one last time, and my official word count is: 53,406.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-Nine (evening)

Added another 1,296 words to my novel today. Still haven't finished yet. I figure another three or four days, and then I'll set it aside. Up to 52,429 words.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-Eight (evening)

Decided to keep writing, because my novel's not done yet. I'm up to 51,133 words according to Word, and 51,236 according to the NaNoWriMo website. Just wrote one more scene so far today, another 858 words.

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-Seven (evening)

I finished today, crossing the 50K line. Microsoft Word said my word count was 50,275. Then I validated my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, and the word validator said 50,366. I won!

On Wednesday, the 25th, I got up to 47,688 words. I wrote 1,730 words that day.

On Thursday, the 26th, I got up to 48,563 words. I only wrote 895 words that day, which made it my worst day of the month. It was Thanksgiving; what can I say?

Today, the 27th, I got up to 50,275 (50,366) words. I wrote 1,712 words today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-Four (evening)

I'm definitely winding down. I know I'll make it to 50K, so I'm not pushing myself so hard. Wrote 1,143 words today. I crossed the 45K/90% mark this morning, and then wrote some more tonight after the boys were asleep.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-Three (evening)

Wrote again this morning before work, which I'm really glad I did, because I was especially tired today after work. I did manage another 1,734 words, bring my total up to 44,795. I'm so close to 90%; just 205 more words! But I'm done for tonight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-Two (evening)

I wrote in three sessions again today, which is what I usually do on weekends. It's nice to have more time throughout the day, so I can write some, take a break, and then come back and write some more. And I tend to finish much earlier in the evening, so I'm not quite so tired.

Also spent some time today reading the fourth week chapter in No Plot? No Problem! Since I finished reading Stephen King's On Writing, I've been at a loss as to what to read. I'm deliberately not reading any novels currently; I'll do that as a reward for finishing my novel. I think I'll be looking at some novels I like as I go through the revision process. Then I remembered I was reading The Motion of Light in Water by Samuel R. Delany, which is about writing (and other things), so I picked that up again and read a few pages today.

I wrote a total of 1,830 words today, which puts my total word count up to 43,061. I'm at 86%, with less than 7,000 words to go.

"The point is, as Aristotle told us, is what happens to the hero... not what happens to the writer. - David Mamet

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty-One (evening)

I didn't quite make my goal today, only reaching 1,564. My total is now 41,231. I wrote about 700 words this morning, another three hundred this afternoon, and the rest this evening. Just too tired now, starting to nod off, so I'm calling it a night.

"If you are a writer, by definition it seems to me you're pretty neurotic. And the whole writing business is some way of coming to terms with it." - Doris Lessing

Friday, November 20, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twenty (evening)

Exhausted now... can't write any more. Mostly because I just wasted a whole bunch of time in the forums over at NaNoWriMo.

Wrote 1,970 words today. Total: 39,667. I'm at 79%. I can't wait to cross 40K and truly be on the downhill slope.

"Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable." - Francis Bacon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Nineteen (evening)

Another day home with the boys. This flu is really nasty. My youngest seemed to be doing better all day, but his temperature did rise again late this afternoon.

Since he was awake a lot more today, we started watching Christmas movies. We watched The Santa Clause and The Polar Express.

All in all, a good day.

Words today: 1,821
Total word count: 37,697.

I am now 75% done towards my goal of 50,000 words. I anticipate no problems reaching that goal with what I have left yet to write, based on what I've plotted out until "The End."

When I started this, I thought 50K was a lot to write, and I would be happy with that. I still will be, but now the goal has altered somewhat. Now, I really want to finish my novel. I imagine it will get longer in revision, even when I cut out all the bad stuff. But if I keep going at the rate I have been, and write every day, I'll end up closer to 60K than 50K.

"Why do writers write? Because it isn't there." - Thomas Berger

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Eighteen (evening)

I was home all day today, but didn't post anything until tonight. I was home with my younger son today, also sick with that flu bug that is knocking everyone out lately. I had three students out the other day, and more than that last week.

Since he napped off and on all day, I got a lot of writing done.

Feel good that I got a lot of writing done today. Feel bad that both of my boys have gotten sick this season. Feel guilty that I enjoyed writing today. As hard as it was yesterday to make those 1,667 words, today was easy. The words just flowed; it was nearly effortless.

I don't feel guilty because I wasn't taking care of my son. I tended to him plenty today, but when he was napping, there wasn't anything for me to do for him. So, I wrote. It's a parent thing, I guess. You feel awful when your children are sick and there's really not a whole lot you can do to make them feel better.

Also finished reading Stephen King's On Writing this evening.

Today's word count: 2,194, which makes it only my fifth best day so far this month. (That helps alleviate the guilt a little bit.)
Total word count: 35,876, which puts me at 71%.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes." - William Makepeace Thackeray

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Seventeen (evening)

The words came hard today. Some days the words just fly onto the page. That didn't happen today, but I kept going until I met my daily word goal.

I think I need to get back into the habit of writing a little bit in the morning before I go in to work. Trying to get it all done in the evening after work is proving to be too difficult.

Today's word count: 1,770
Total: 33,682

I'm 67% done, which means I'm two-thirds of the way there.

"I do not like to write - I like to have written." - Gloria Steinem

Monday, November 16, 2009


If you're interested, you can see a wordle of this blog.

NaNoWriMo Day Sixteen (evening)

I was at home today with my son, who is recovering from the flu. Since he spent most of the day on the couch under his blankets, watching TV and movies on DVD, I got a lot of writing done.

This morning, I finished reading the third week section of No Plot? No Problem! and decided to take Chris's advice to heart. Looking at my plot notes, I decided I wasn't even halfway to the end of my novel. And I want to finish with something that resembles my vision of what this book is going to look like when it's done. That is, I want the complete story arcs for my characters that I mapped out.

I'm glad that I took a look at my notes. I had already started skipping around in my novel. The character that I developed first, the one who I thought was going to be my main character, was taking more and more of a back seat. During some of the rough parts of week two, I left him alone quite a bit, and focused on the other two main characters I've been writing about. That helped me get focused again.

I guess that's one of those writer moments that I hear people talking about, when the characters demand things of you. That time when you realize that maybe you're not in control, that the characters you created are really in charge of their own lives and you're merely the scribe.

Anyway, back to today... I'm glad that I looked at those notes again, because I ended up throwing a lot of them out. I had plotted things that my characters simply would not do. I know that now because I understand them so much better than I did a couple of weeks ago. So I trimmed some of that incorrect stuff out. And there were one or two things that I just looked at and thought didn't really fit in this novel at all. I have a more bare outline now, but one that should take me to 50,000 words (or more) and a finished novel (basically). If I can pull that off, I'll be more than happy. I will have really accomplished what I set out to do.

I can always come back to it in December and flesh it out even more. I may put some of those things back in. I'm sure other new things will occur to me over the next couple of weeks as well, that I may or may not fit in by the end of the month. We'll see. Flexibility is definitely a skill that helps during NaNoWriMo.

Today's final word count: 2,931 words, which makes it my second best day so far this November. My total: 31,912 words. I'm 63% done, which puts me almost two-thirds of the way there.

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." - George Orwell

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Fifteen (evening)

This morning's word count: 1,248. I have now crossed the 28K threshold. I'm just a few words shy of having enough words to be two days ahead of schedule.

It's really nice having that buffer of words. I'm still worried about something interfering with me making my daily word goal. I've had students out sick. Fellow teachers have been sick. And now my oldest son has gotten sick. Still not sure if he's going to be well enough to go back to school tomorrow or not. If not, I'll have to stay home with him; my wife stayed home with him on Friday.

And I'm worried about Thanksgiving. I should be able to meet my word count for Wednesday; I have that day off, too. But then we're going out of town to my grandmother's. And I'm doing most of the cooking. So, I'm not sure how much writing I'll be able to get done on Thursday and Friday, especially Thursday. I'm going to commit to getting some writing done both days, but I don't see myself making 1,667 words each of those two days.

I don't want to take a day off. I did that last year, and then one day turned into two and then three... And I pretty much stopped writing entirely. I did write a bit more, but I lost my momentum and never regained it. Don't want that to happen at all this year. Even if I only get down 400 words, then I still wrote something for that day.

Wrote again this evening, putting today's total at 1,971. My total word count is now 28,981. One more word and it would be a palindrome.

"Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long." - Leonard Bernstein

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Fourteen (evening)

Wrote in three sessions today, one this morning, a brief one in the afternoon, and the last one this evening.

Today's word count: 1,963
Total word count: 27,010
Words remaining: 22,990
Complete: 54%
Average words per day: 1,929

At this rate, I should finish 50,000 words on November 26.

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." - Sharon O'Brien

Friday, November 13, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Thirteen (evening)

Was feeling really disheartened after yesterday's lackluster performance.

Not feeling terribly great about today's writing either, but I did make my daily word goal again today. A lot of what I wrote today was my main character thinking. It was a lot of mostly pointless worrying. I can imagine someone reading the book and reaching this point, and thinking, "What went wrong here?" It's all garbage. It's the first true garbage I've written, and about that I'm not happy.

This is probably a good thing. I need to write garbage if I'm going to finish 50,000 words. And at the rate I'm going, I'm going to surpass that before the month is up. For all that garbage is words, and enough words that I feel like I did a good job today, much better than yesterday.

I just have to keep telling myself. Write, even if it's garbage. I keep worrying that what I'm writing is good or not. Mostly I'm happy with it, but I've got to have some bad parts. That's what December's for. And I'm starting to worry that I'm becoming attached to my novel, that I really want it to be good. But, first things first, I have to finish it, and then I can worry about making it good.

Words today: 1,904. Total word count: 25,047. I have officially passed the half-way mark.

"Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted." - Jules Renard

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Twelve (evening)

Not a good day. Didn't write this morning; got something ready for my students instead.

Didn't write at school either. I wasn't able to set aside time today. Spent a big chunk of the day reviewing geometry concepts for tomorrow's math test.

Couldn't even take a little break after work and write. I finally got to meet with my son's teacher, have our parent-teacher conference, and get his report card. (I think next time, for the spring parent-teacher conferences, I'm going to schedule a time for me to meet with my son's teacher, and the parents of my students are just going to have to work around my schedule. I'm feeling a little bitter, can you tell?) And then I had an IEP meeting to go to, which lasted until 4:30. Spent the next half hour trying to get things ready for tomorrow. Dashed out, was a little late picking up my younger son.

He, of course, decided to be difficult this evening. Had to give him a time-out. Was so frustrated with his defiant behavior, that I went out for the evening. Drove over to Barnes & Noble with my NEO, and only managed 1,196 words today. I'm at 23,143.

"I think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension." - Norman Mailer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Eleven (evening)

I think that break really helped. Sat down with my boys and watched Up again. Have seen it three times now. The first time was at Pixar Studios; we have a friend who works there and she invited us to see it. We liked it so much I took the boys to see it again on the big screen. And we watched it again today at home on DVD. It's a great movie! If you haven't seen it yet, you owe yourself the pleasure.

Ended up writing 2,224 words today for a grand total of 21,947.

NaNoWriMo Day Eleven (afternoon)

It's almost 3 o'clock on Veterans Day. Except for lunch out with the boys, and picking up Pixar's Up on DVD, we've been home all day. Now they're getting squirrelly, running around the house and generally being obnoxious. I'm going to take a break now from my novel and try to write again after they're in bed.

Today's word count (so far): 1,643. Total (so far): 21,366.

"The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Ten (evening)

Didn't write at all this morning, which is the first time since I started NaNoWriMo this year that I haven't written something in the morning.

I was playing with a NEO2 from Renaissance Learning. I'm lucky enough to be a teacher who was loaned a set of NEOs for use in the classroom. They arrived last Friday at our school, and though my fellow fifth-grade teacher and I were tempted to each take a NEO home over the weekend to acquaint ourselves with them, we resisted. We, of course, wrote large chunks of our novels instead.

But yesterday, Monday, after our staff meeting, we opened up the boxes and got a look at the NEOs. I used one immediately, typing up some notes from our history text, which I then transferred to my computer and printed out. Couldn't have been easier. I was taken with it pretty much immediately.

Took that one home last night. Didn't end up using it that night, because I was writing my novel on my laptop. But this morning, I used the NEO again to type up some summaries of history chapters that students had already drafted. I really like the eight different files feature. I was able to put summaries of the same chapter together in the same file, which transferred to the same document on my computer. Some students were assigned to summarize the same chapter, so it was convenient to group them together in the same document, which the NEO handles as the same file.

I never had to worry about the work I typed being saved. When I was done with those summaries, I just opened a new file and began work on summaries for the next chapter.

Once at school, I introduced students who had committed to writing to their NEOs. To say that they were excited would be an understatement. They couldn't wait to start using them. I set aside some instructional time this morning, and several of them wrote with me at the big table in the back of my classroom. A handful stayed in during recess; they wanted to keep writing rather than go out and play. An almost equal number of students decided to stay in during lunch recess as well to write; they did eat lunch, but again, they did not go out and play.

Overall, a very satisfactory day. I'm enjoying using the NEO and so are my students. It was definitely a motivator for them to write.

Oh, yeah...I managed 1,980 words today, bringing my total up to 19,723.

"I do not boast about the quality of my work, but I may be permitted to pride myself on the gift of steady application." - Anthony Burgess

Monday, November 09, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Nine (evening)

Didn't write much this morning, only 334 words. I spent some time going back to a previous chapter. I wanted to make sure I had all the characters and details right to start this new chapter.

I realized I now need to start tracking some additional information on chapters I've written. I've created new minor characters, named others, etc. I need to keep notes of these somewhere, probably my plot document. I don't want to go back and read what I've written; I just want to keep writing.

It wasn't even that I was tempted to revise what I had written. Or that I had given my Inner Editor some power to try to escape from his prison. I just spent too much time reading, looking for the info that I needed to keep writing.

I could argue that it was time well spent, that what I wrote because of it would not require any major revision. But that's kind of the point of NaNoWriMo: it's okay to write and have it not be okay. It can always be fixed in December. I have a deadline, and I can't afford to waste any time.


I did meet my daily goal. I added 1,804 words to my story. I am now up to 17,743 words, which means I'm 35.5% done. I passed the one-third mark.

"A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to do it." - Samuel Johnson

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Do You Read What You've Written?

No, except for the last couple of paragraphs I may have written for a scene to get going again. I will stop writing if I get to the end of a scene that has a cliffhanger ending. It's easy to pick that up again, propelling myself into the next scene. Otherwise, I try to stop somewhere in the middle of a scene. I don't really want to face a blank page at the start of a new scene or chapter. Because of where I tend to end scenes I do read a little to get me started again.

I have no plans to read what I've written until the whole book is done. My wife keeps asking me to read it, but I have refused to show it to her until it's done. (She's a little annoyed with me.)

NaNoWriMo Day Eight (evening)

At 7:00 p.m., I was up to 15,939 words. I've written 2,107 words today. Overall, I've had a very productive weekend, totaling some 4,400 words. I'm now more than a full day ahead of schedule. And I'm 32% done.

It feels really good to have that buffer of excess words. So far, I'm not showing any signs of slowing down, but Chris Baty, in No Plot? No Problem!, says to anticipate week two being more difficult. I hope I can maintain this same level of progress. Because I've got enough plot notes in my outline, I should be able to get out at least 1,000 words on a bad day.

NaNoWriMo has $181,487 in donations so far this year. The collective word total is 591,689,307.

"A writer's mind seems to be situated partly in the solar plexus and partly in the head." - Ethel Wilson

NaNoWriMo Day Eight (afternoon)

I'm stopping now around 12:30. Time for a light lunch. I've managed 1,263 words so far today, putting my total word count at 15,095.

It hardly seems that I've already been writing for a whole week now and have started the second week. I think I'll take a break and read the next section of No Plot? No Problem!. I also need to catch up on the Daily Noveling Briefs that came with the No Plot? No Problem! Novel-Writing Kit. Those should inspire me and prepare me for the week ahead.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Seven (evening)

Around 9 p.m., I stopped for the day, with 2,351 words completed, bringing my total up to 13,832. Was having a rough time of it earlier in the afternoon. Around 7 p.m., when I put the boys down for bed, I had barely passed 1,400 words.

"All writers arrange objects around them in a way that means nothing to anyone except their owner. Then you feel safe and can set out on some sort of voyage of the mind knowing you're going to find your way back." - Redmond O'Hanlon

NaNoWriMo Day Seven (morning)

Have written 1,030 words so far today. Now I'm off to take the boys to their swim class, and then lunch. Plan to have at least two more writing sessions today, to reach at least 2,000 words today, or maybe even 2,500.

Friday, November 06, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Six (evening)

This morning before I left for work I wrote another 656 words. After dinner, I managed another 562 words, bringing me up to a total of 10,901 words. However, I'm still about 400 words shy of today's goal of 1,667. Going to take a little break, maybe do a little reading, and then try to hammer out another short scene.

When I posted this NaNoWriMo was up to $172,962 in donations and a total word count of 442,507,400.

Wrote some more to finish that chapter. Was still a few words shy of today's goal, so I went back to an earlier chapter to add another scene that I decided belonged there. Finally, brought my total up to 11,481 words. I managed to break 10K this morning and 11K this evening, all in the same day.

"It's much better to be a tribal writer, writing for all people and reflecting many voices through us, than to be a cloistered being trying to find one peanut of truth in our own individual mind. Become big and write with the whole world in your arms." - Natalie Goldberg

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Five (evening)

I'm up to 9,678 words. Every day but one so far I've written at least the average 1667 words that I need to manage to finish 50,000 in a month. I'm 19% done.

"Isadora's desk appeared a random mess, but like a novel in progress it had an inner logic apparent only to its begetter." - Erica Jong

So, I decided to feed two birds with one loaf of bread. I also signed up for National Blog Posting Month to blog about where I am in writing my novel for National Novel Writing Month.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Four (evening)

Broke 8K: up to 8004 now.

"One of the first things you learn as a writer is that you write what you can, not what you want." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

NaNoWriMo Day Four (morning)

Last night, I got my word count up to 6,228. Didn't write as much yesterday as I had the previous two days. I wanted to write more last night. I took a break, and then ended up falling asleep, so I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. I was all ready to write that next scene, but I guess sleep was more important.

Wrote another 624 words this morning. Current word count: 6,855.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Three (morning)

Wrote another 322 words this morning. I'm now up to 5,578. Got to keep going to keep up with those daily goals. Aidan interrupted me this morning, showing me Halloween pictures another parent at his school had taken. Very nice, but you can't write and watch a slide show of pictures on your computer at the same time.

"I think the whole glory of writing lies in the fact that it forces us out of ourselves and into the lives of others." - Sherwood Anderson

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Two (evening)

I am now up to 5,253 words in my novel.

"Only when men are connected to larger, universal goals are they really happy - and one result of their happiness is a rush of creative activity." - Joyce Carol Oates

NaNoWriMo Day Two (morning)

Worked a bit more this morning, adding another 692 words, bringing my total up to 4,262.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day One

Today, I started my second attempt at National Novel Writing Month. We were in Santa Rosa for the weekend, so I brought my laptop with me. The boys woke me up too early, so I started on my novel early this morning. By 10 o'clock I was up to 2,296 words, well above the 1,667 required to finish 50,000 words in a month.

Around 5 o'clock, I was up to 2,846 words, and had to stop. Had a light dinner and then drove back to San Bruno. Wrote for another session before bed and got up to 3,567 words. A good first day. I hope I can write this many words every weekend day. If so, I should have no problem crossing the finish line this year.

"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair - the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page." - Stephen King